Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

test tubes

Risk assessment is an important step in the authorisation of chemicals© Thier Aquino

Towards improved safety of biocides and simplified authorisation procedures


The European Commission has presented on 12 June draft legislation to achieve a higher level of protection of health and environment. This proposal aims at significantly increasing the safety of biocide products used and placed on the market in the European Union. It proposes to phase out the most hazardous substances, particularly those that may cause cancer, and to introduce new rules for articles such as furniture and textiles treated with biocides, which are not covered by existing legislation. It introduces simplified legislation, whilst providing new incentives for companies to develop safer products against harmful pests and germs. The Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will be involved in the authorisation of some of these products through a centralised approach. The proposal should enter into force in 2013.

Under the current Directive in this field, the JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) is responsible for the coordination of the scientific assessment of active substances used in biocidal products: the EU peer-review process of risk assessments carried out by Rapporteur Member States. This includes the development of technical guidance for the assessment of biocides and coordination with other similar regulatory frameworks like pesticides, industrial chemicals (REACH) and veterinary medicines. The JRC-IHCP activities will be handed over to ECHA when the new rules will enter into force in 2013.